Marie Curie Fellowship for Aafke Bronneberg
Aafke Bronneberg has been working as a postdoc at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels since summer 2013. The physicist has now received one of the sought-after European Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions Research Fellowships. The fellowship supports outstanding scientists in their post-doctoral phase. It provides for and anticipates a change in research institution and country. Aafke Bronneberg will therefore join the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) in Eindhoven, Netherlands beginning February 2017.
“I am very happy about the acceptance that shows my research is good and that I am also able to write persuasive applications. This is very helpful for a career in the sciences” she says. With the research come new tasks for her as well. This is because the recipients of the Marie Curie Fellowships must be engaged in public information activities. “I think that is very important and I participated here in the Long Night of the Sciences”, she explains. She has already shown that she is a very communicative person: she is involved with the Postdoc Association at HZB, helping to build up a network.
About the new research project
Her new research project at the DIFFER Institute will also involve solar fuels, i.e. the generation of hydrogen with the help of sunlight. She wants to investigate the electrochemical processes of light-induced water splitting. She has her eye particularly on photoelectrodes where oxygen gas is formed. She wants to analyse metal-oxide photoelectrodes with the help of infrared spectroscopy to determine when and where bottlenecks occur during the reactions, and how the design of the photoelectrodes can be improved. She will be able to build on her experience at HZB with metal oxides and enhance collaboration between HZB and DIFFER.
Aafke Bronneberg studied physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology and also conducted her doctoral research there. She investigated processes in thin-film solar cells made of microcrystalline silicon for her doctoral dissertation. Subsequently, she went to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, USA as a postdoc where she worked on developing nanostructures suitable for photoelectrodes in solar hydrogen generation. She has been employed at the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels as a postdoc since summer 2013. There she has set up a lab for atomic layer deposition that enables surfaces and nanostructures to be coated with a few atomic layers of other materials, such as catalysts or protective coatings, for example.